Early John Travolta: YMMV

I happened upon this Slate commentary on the TV movie Boy in the Plastic Bubble. A key quote:

From the moment Travolta first appears onscreen, bedecked in a pink-and-black-checked knit hat with a huge pom-pom on top, he’s electrifying, and the scene in which he disco dances around his bubble wearing short shorts and a football jersey is worth three months of cable bills.

Well, maybe. Last October, I included an “off-topic perspective” commenting on a bunch of old movies in a “free” set of DVDs; that bunch included Boy in the Plastic Bubble. I was a bit less electrified. Here’s my brief comment in full:

This is an Aaron Spelling production: A TV movie with a very young John Travolta. I’m not sure where the 8 minutes went (or if the IMDB info is correct); it seems to be a good print, possibly supplied directly by Spelling. I’d have to say Robert Reed, Glynnis O’Connor, Diana Hyland, and Ralph Bellamy all out-act Travolta, who seems unformed as an actor at this point. As TV movies go, it’s mediocre but watchable.

(“8 minutes” refers to the difference between IMDB’s runtime for this TVflick–1:40–and the DVD’s actual runtime, 1:32. At this point, I’d guess it’s that the DVD omits a whole bunch of “movie of the week”-style overhead, which could easily add up to eight minutes on a two-hour TV slot.)

I dunno. It’s not that I don’t like John Travolta, but I didn’t think there was anything there at the time–basically a pretty-faced lump of clay. As always, your mileage may vary.

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